You're Paying Too Much for Your Phone - NBC Chicago

You're Paying Too Much for Your Phone

Clinics, online tools help save money on phone charges



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    The Citizens Utility Board says Illinois residents are over paying for phone services.

    Face it -- times are tough, and most people are looking for a way to save a little cash.  Your cell and home phone plans may be the easiest places cut back without even feeling it, according to the Citizens Utility Board.

    Illinois residents are overpaying on their phone bills by an average of $575 a year, a report released Tuesday by CUB claims.

    The Illinois economy is losing as much as $1.5 billion from consumers who struggle to decipher confusing bills and calling plans, and end up paying more than they need to, the non-profit consumer rights group said.

    To help you out with that, CUB has come up with a few simple ways to check your phone usage and see if you can bring your bill down.

    Look here for links to money-saving tools offered by CUB.

    The report claims most Illinois consumers could slash $187 annually from their local phone bills, $80 from their long-distance bills and $308 from their cell phone bills.  

    CUB offers help in a number of ways to maximize phone bill savings. Gather your phone bills, then call (866) 688-4282 for the group's Phone Savings Hotline, or log on to the CUB Web site.

    CUB analyzed more than 32,000 local, long-distance and cell-phone bills collected over a two-year period to come up with their recommendations.  The group claims the majority of AT&T customers could save about $187.15 a year by switching to a more-affordable service plan.

    Other ways to slash phone bills include switching from long-distance carriers like AT&T and Verizon, the report says, to lesser-known lower-priced carriers, and downsizing calling plans and dropping unnecessary wireless features.

    Upcoming CUB phone bill clinics include:

    -- 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23
    Forest Park Public Library, 7555 Jackson Blvd.
    Register at (708) 366-7171
    -- 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25
    Crystal Lake Public Library, 126 Paddock Street
    Register at (815) 459-1687

    -- 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 3
    Frankfort Public Library, 21119 Pfeiffer Road
    Register at (815) 534-6173

    -- 10 a.m. Saturday, March 7
    Crystal Lake Public Library, 126 Paddock Street
    Register at (815) 459-1687

    -- 10 a.m. Thursday, March 26
    The Centre, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin
    Come by between 10 a.m. and noon for a free analysis.
    Register at (847) 531-7000 or in person at the Centre.